Suburban Man Charged With Impersonating U.S. Marshal at Chicago Movie Theater

A suburban man allegedly posed as a U.S. marshal at a River North theater last month and flashed a handgun at moviegoers who were upset that the was talking on his phone.

Michael Bonin, 47, of Beecher, was charged with impersonating a federal agent, according to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

The complaint alleges that patrons in Theater 17 at the AMC River East 21 Theater at 322 E. Illinoi St. asked Bonin to be quiet as he talked on his cell phone during a film. Bonin “became extremely agitated” then allegedly yelled that he was a United States Marshal and showed the audience a .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun and a badge on his belt, a witness claimed, according to the complaint.

Someone in the theater called 911 and a Chicago police officer spoke with Bonin outside the theater. The officer said Bonin was wearing what was described as “full duty gear,” including a gun, a star badge and ammunition magazines, the complaint states. Bonin allegedly told the officer he was a marshal and was allowed to return to the theater.

After re-entering the theater, Bonin allegedly yelled “Look, I am a US Marshal” at the audience and the officer, who had not yet left the scene, went back into the theater and asked him to leave.

Bonin was not arrested at the theater, but a complaint filed last week claims he’s impersonated federal agents in several incidents. The United States Marshals Service said it is investigating the allegations that Bonin “impersonated an officer on several occasions in the recent past.”

On Jan. 15, 2013 Markham police say an off-duty officer was standing in a Speedway gas station when he saw a vehicle drive through a red light at the intersection of 167th and Kedzie Avenue with red and blue emergency lights activated.

The vehicle pulled into the Speedway parking lot and Bonin allegedly exited the vehicle and began a conversation with the off-duty officer and the cashier in the gas station. The complaint alleges Bonin told the officer he was a United States Marshal and opened a trench coat he was wearing to reveal a large caliber handgun holstered to his waist.

The officer said Bonin declined his request to see his law enforcement credentials, and the officer left to call in a report of a suspicious person to on-duty officers. Bonin was later issued traffic tickets related to the incident, but was not charged with any other offense, the complaint states.

Deputy U.S. Marshal Richard Walenda said he spoke with Bonin at his home and “cautioned Bonin that representing himself to be a United States Marshal was illegal, and could lead to Bonin unintentionally placing himself in harm’s way.” Walenda said Bonin handed over two simulated United States Marshal badges and a Cook County patch “of the kind worn on deputies’ uniforms.”

The complaint alleges at least three other incidents in Dixmoor, Crete and Mokena over the last two years where Bonin reportedly identified himself as “an agent,” a “U.S. fugitive recovery agent,” and a “U.S. Investigator.”

A bond hearing is scheduled for Monday.

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